The German Government on Monday confirmed that it would commence supply of military hardware to support Nigeria’s effort to address security challenges in the North-East and Niger Delta region, before the end of 2016.
The Permanent Secretary, German Foreign Office, Mr Markus Elderer, confirmed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sideline of the defence session of the Nigeria-Germany Bi-National Commission meeting in Abuja.
He said that the decision to support Nigerian security forces address their challenges was at the instance of a request made by President Muhammadu Buhari at the last G-7 summit hosted by Germany.
The German official said that the equipment to be supplied to Nigeria comprised ground surveillance equipment, anti-mine equipment, gun boats, among others.
Elderer added that military aid to Nigeria would also include training of Nigerian military personnel especially military engineers in the handling and maintenance of the equipment.
``It was at the visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to Germany at the occasion of the G-7 summit that it was decided that Germany will help Nigeria address its security concerns.
``The Nigerian Government requested equipment support and military training so, we are incorporating all of these in this agreement.
``We are doing this through training, through equipment supply like the ground radar system, mine clearing equipment and mobile health units for the security forces in order for them to carry out these difficult tasks of combating terrorism.
``We are almost at the finishing line and we are just awaiting the signing of the agreement so, that we can begin implementation; I think everything will be done this year,’’ he said.
Elderer identified other aspects of the agreement to include bio-security, mopping of small arms in the country, police training and health support.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Amb. Danjuma Sheni told NAN that the efforts of the German government to support Nigeria’s quest for peace and security in the sub region was laudable.
He said that Nigeria would leverage on the opportunities created through the Nigeria-Germany Bi-National Commission to boost other aspects of relations that would b e beneficial to both countries.
Sheni said the secretariat of the commission was working tirelessly to ensure that the agreement was signed before the end of June.
``We have actually been working on this agreement for a while now, the agreement is particularly important because it would fast track the kind of relationship we have.
``Germany has offered some equipment for use both in the creeks and in the North-East; there are mine clearing equipment and others.
``But all these will be delivered when the agreement is signed; so we are working day and night and I can assure that between the next two to three weeks this agreement will be signed,’’ he said.
NAN reports that the German delegation is in Nigeria to finalise the signing of agreements under the auspices of the Nigeria-Germany Bi-National Commission.